The helicopter industry in Asia has taken a first step toward tackling unfavorable safety statistics in the region with the creation of the Asean helicopter safety team (AHEST). The new group, representing the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, held its inaugural steering committee meeting last month. Airbus Helicopters Southeast Asia hosted the gathering in Singapore, attended by 15 participants representing manufacturers, operators, regulators and customers.
“In uniting stakeholders from the helicopter industry, AHEST is committed to establishing international partnerships that can reverse negative helicopter industry safety trends and improve the helicopter safety culture overall,” said David Leithner, CHC Helicopters’ flight safety and quality manager in Malaysia.
AHEST believes the basis for safety improvement is sharing lessons learned through accident analysis. The association is creating an outreach program to promote safety publications and toolkits that will be used to gather input on the state of the regional industry and its challenges. AHEST, which is seeking to expand its membership, emphasizes that Asia is poised to be the fastest-growing helicopter market in the coming years. Since the international helicopter safety team (IHST) was created in 2006, Asia has seen its accident rate increase.